Nodefactory based on FreeBSD 11-RELEASE

This guide is last updated for use with FreeBSD 11.2-RELEASE


We intend to implement a number of changes/improvements.


  • implement new package management (pkgng)
  • cleanup packages that are no longer required: nrpe, vim, bash-static, pftop, nmap, python-Jinja2, sixxs-aiccu, openvpn
  • implement latest version of lvrouted (auto update default route)
  • add net/ladvd
  • add inet check in snmpd.conf
  • update scripts to use 'drill' instead of 'dig'
  • remove the "rcvar='set_rcvar'" statement from startup scripts in /etc/rc.d/ and /usr/local/etc/rc.d
  • based on FreeBSD-11.2-RELEASE
  • unbound replaces bind; recursive dns server on standard-node; authorative server for domain on two special servers in the network; unbound tutorial. Unbound optimizes forwarders automatically, so nameservershuffle is no longer needed. Use unbound from ports, not local_unbound.
  • replaced thttpd by apache-2.4
  • no longer soft-updates
  • update captive portal to increase speed: use of static html landing page
  • merged APU specifics into generic configuration (we do not use X64, MIPS or ARM)
  • correction of dhcpd.conf for aliased interfaces (no 'shared-networks')
  • use Poudriere for package building
  • correct /tools/wl-config external fetch url (
  • use of nsd for local domain authorative nameserver
  • use monit for node-based monitoring and watch dog functionality (


  • use ipfw instead of pf in order to make usb-lan adapter work, see ticket #206 for problem description. Functionality:
        direct new user to the Captive Portal page (rdr, blocking acl) on node.
        only allow http/https traffic to internet (gateway setup).
        NAT on gateways.
        Incoming RDR/NAT voor (webcam) services on gateways. 
      Nice-to-have features:
        Bandwidth limiting (FUP).
        Bad traffic detection and blocking. 
  • add 'welcome back' page to captive portal (activated when connection interrupted)
  • bsnmp may replace net-snmp (low priority)
  • wl-web page redesign for local users / maintainance
  • add ssh-guard or no password-login, only keys
  • gformat should include ssh-redirect rule in pf.hybrid.conf.local for the gateways.
    # Redirect SSH on internetport 1022 to 22 because of ssh spam, block external port 22: 
    rdr on $ext_if inet proto tcp from any to $ext_if port 1022 tag SRV -> port 22
  • captive portal: allow some (specified) external IP's (such as the sponsor website or to allow browsing the WirelessLeiden? website e.g. for support information online). Also the captive portal page could provide node specific information that would be maintained through a website (CMS).
  • captive portal (enhancement): For user support it might be helpful to provide technical user-related information on the bottom of the captive portal; maybe a comment field and button to allow the user to send input to support@….

Will keep

  • ucspi-tcp-0.88_2 for redirect captive portal
  • mtr, curl, screen, sudo
  • dnsmasq (for Soekris hardware and possibly dhcpd service)
  • pen
  • tinyproxy

Gradually we are implementing the various changes, starting from the present software configuration (9.0-RELEASE) on 11.2-RELEASE with the next generation package management system (pkgng). The procedure to build this 'work-in-progress' nodefactory-host is described below.

A test-node-configuration is available in svn. This wleiden.yaml file can be used to test the image by installing on an Alix-board with connection to the local network. We are also evaluating the new APU-board, see the wiki-page.

A. Setup a FreeBSD host

Setup is tested in a high performance VirtualBox environment, running 4 x Core i7 CPU, 4096MB RAM and SSD disk (20GB). Timing estimates are based on this system:

  • Make sure /usr is at least 12 GB but better is 20 GB in size, as building images requires quite some space.
  • Make sure you install the 32bit i386 release of FreeBSD also when your system does support amd64, as cross compiling can give some nasty surprises.
  • Internet connection is required for initial building phase. Ones completed succesfully no internet connection is required anymore.

Tip: Use an SSD disk to speed up the compilation process. Do NOT use a separate hard disk mounted on /usr/obj as this will cause cross-device link errors.

Get yourself a fresh i386 FreeBSD host installed as follows:

A.1. Run the basic CD installer

The procedure below has been tested with 11.2 (standard developer install - no ports -, e.g. with default partitioning will fit our needs). Installing FreeBSD is outside the scope of this document, take a look into the FreeBSD handbook Chapter 2 Installing FreeBSD if you do not know the details.

A.2. After first boot

Warning: Because of the many mounts and unmounts done in various phases running as root is required. Do NOT use a production machine as WL build environment, because it will fail at some point in time!

Allow SSH root login, since all commands below need to be executed as root:
PermitRootLogin yes in /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Set correct date/time and make sure it is kept up2date:
build# ntpdate
build# echo 'ntpd_enable="YES"' >> /etc/rc.conf

A.3 Set some useful variables

Alter the shell configuration /root/.cshrc:

Ensure ftp is set to passive mode, to avoid potential firewall issues:
build# echo 'setenv FTP_PASSIVE_MODE YES' >> /root/.cshrc

Set a default password for the images that you will produce:
build# echo 'setenv CFG_ROOT_PASSWORD DefaultPassword12!' >> /root/.cshrc

Define your nanobsd (svn) working directory:
build# echo 'setenv R /root/nanobsd' >> /root/.cshrc

Enable SSL for fetch:
build# echo 'setenv SSL_NO_VERIFY_PEER 1' >> /root/.cshrc

Next load your file (or login again):
build# source /root/.cshrc

A.4. Development tools

Bootstrap development packages:
build# env ALWAYS_ASSUME_YES=1 pkg install vim-console sudo screen ca_root_nss subversion p5-ack

Tip: screen can be a handy tool if you are working on a remote host.

With 'screen' you can open a virtual terminal, in which you can do everything like in the normal terminal. 
But you can detach it if you want to do other things in the main terminal and reattach it later. It even works after you quit your main terminal.

Common screen commands:
1. Start a new terminal:
build# screen
2. Type CTRL+A and D to detach this new terminal
3. Reattach it:
build# screen -R

A.5. get latest sources

build# svn co -q /usr/src

A.6 set up Poudriere

Setting up of Poudriere is taken care off by the script see section B.2 below. For details refer to separate page Poudriere

B. Build environment

B.1 Download the environment from the Wireless Leiden svn repository

build# svn checkout $R
build# cd $R

B.2. Compile all required packages

First time use requires the required packages are installed, ports are updated, port trees are merged and the Poudriere jail is setup and loaded:

Set up Poudriere environment by running [15 min]:

build# screen $R/tools/ initenv

Now build all packages, this will take quite some time [90 min]:
build# $R/tools/ build

Listing of packages:

GeoIP-1.6.12                   Find the country that any IP address or hostname originates from
apache24-2.4.34                Version 2.4.x of Apache web server
apr-              Apache Portability Library
bash-static-4.4.23             GNU Project's Bourne Again SHell
ca_root_nss-3.39               Root certificate bundle from the Mozilla Project
curl-7.61.0_1                  Command line tool and library for transferring data with URLs
daemontools-0.76_18            Service monitoring and logging utilities by djb
db5-5.3.28_7                   Oracle Berkeley DB, revision 5.3
dnsmasq-2.79,1                 Lightweight DNS forwarder, DHCP, and TFTP server
expat-2.2.6_1                  XML 1.0 parser written in C
gdb-8.1.1                      GNU GDB of newer version than comes with the system
gdbm-1.13_1                    GNU database manager
gettext-runtime-     GNU gettext runtime libraries and programs
gmp-6.1.2                      Free library for arbitrary precision arithmetic
iftop-1.0.p4                   Display bandwidth usage on an interface by host
indexinfo-0.3.1                Utility to regenerate the GNU info page index
iperf-2.0.12                   Tool to measure maximum TCP and UDP bandwidth
isc-dhcp44-server-4.4.1_3      ISC Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server
ladvd-1.1.1                    Minimal LLDP/CDP/EDP/FDP/NDP sender daemon
ldns-1.7.0_1                   Library for programs conforming to DNS RFCs and drafts
libevent-2.1.8_2               API for executing callback functions on events or timeouts
libiconv-1.14_11               Character set conversion library
libidn2-2.0.5                  Implementation of IDNA2008 internationalized domain names
libnghttp2-1.33.0              HTTP/2.0 C Library
libunistring-0.9.10            Unicode string library
libxml2-2.9.7                  XML parser library for GNOME
lvrouted-13830                 Lvrouted is a very simple shortest-path routing daemon
monit-5.25.2                   Unix system management and proactive monitoring
mpfr-4.0.1                     Library for multiple-precision floating-point computations
mtr-0.92                       Traceroute and ping in a single network diagnostic tool
net-snmp-5.7.3_18              Extendable SNMP implementation
nettle-3.4                     Low-level cryptographic library
nsd-4.1.24                     Authoritative only non-recursive name server
pcre-8.42                      Perl Compatible Regular Expressions library
pen-0.34.1                     Load balancer for UDP and TCP based protocols
perl5-5.26.2                   Practical Extraction and Report Language
pkg-1.10.5_2                   Package manager
readline-7.0.3_1               Library for editing command lines as they are typed
screen-4.6.2                   Multi-screen window manager
sudo-1.8.25                    Allow others to run commands as root
thttpd-2.29                    Tiny/turbo/throttling HTTP server with CGI support
tinyproxy-1.8.4,1              Small, efficient HTTP proxy server
ucspi-tcp-0.88_2               Command-line tools for building TCP client-server applications
unbound-1.7.3                  Validating, recursive, and caching DNS resolver
vim-console-8.1.0342           Improved version of the vi editor (console only)
wait_on-1.1.2                  Enable shell scripts to monitor for changes on directories and files

(list updated Sep, 2018 using $R/tools/image edit => pkg info)

B.4 Build nanobsd aka make sure to prepare some coffee ;-)

Start the build process [2 hours]:
build# screen $R/tools/image build

Tip: Save some power and use an power-saver script to shut-down the machine ones not being using any-more.
Tip: The geometry of a default image is based on a 1GB CF card, changes $R/cfg/nanobsd.wleiden

C. Fetch node configuration onto image, write to CF disk or remotely update

C.1. Fetch node-configuration

Apply Wireless Leiden 'genesis' database configuration:
build# $R/tools/image config for <Nodename>

You can inspect the image bij mounting as memory disk:
build# $R/tools/image edit

C.2. Write the correct image to CF

Tip: Media based on SLC and not MLC flash seem to perform much better

Write new image to CF disk inserted into an USB card reader [15min]:
build# $R/tools/

F. Notes

F.1 Total refresh in case of change in build configuration

To start from scratch:

  svn up $R
  $R/tools/ distclean
  $R/tools/ initenv
  $R/tools/ build 

F.2 Update lvrouted port (ONLY) if necessary

Warning: Skip the following steps unless you want to update the current lvrouted version (13830) and know what you are doing:

Checkout latest version of lvrouted (i.e. beyond 13830):
build# svn checkout /tmp/lvrouted

Produce the tar release archive:
build# ./tools/
build# cd /tmp/lvrouted

Upload the lvrouted-uvwxyz.tar.gz to the webfolder directory.

Update PORTVERSION to match current release:
build# vim $R/ports/net/lvrouted/Makefile

Update the hash values:
build# make makesum -C $R/ports/net/lvrouted

Commit changes:
build# svn ci $R/ports/net/lvrouted

F.3 Existing image on node, remote update (slice 2)

Note: network connection to node 172.x.y.z is required.

For remotely updating an existing node software configuration use the image script:
build# $R/tools/image deploy on <node> [and reboot]

Tip: You may adjust the block size to make the transfer more efficient (additionally ssh -C is possible) and you can use Ctrl-T to check progress.

Last modified 2 weeks ago Last modified on Sep 5, 2018, 7:14:27 PM